Fully Funded PhD studentship available for 2014 start.
This exciting project, to be undertaken in partnership with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) based in Teddington, London, will target the development of a new generation of miniaturized atomic clocks as required for a wide range of important applications in which an ultra-precise local knowledge of time and spatial location are critical.
Existing atomic clocks, which exploit the hyperfine microwave transition of alkali metals such as Rb and Cs, are relatively large and complex and rely on laser light:vapour interactions that occur within free space.
The new generation of clocks that we propose are instead based on hollow core microstructured optical fibres (MOFs) which confine both light and vapour to tiny volumes over extended length scales, allowing for highly efficient light:vapour interactions offering the potential for very compact clocks.
HC-MOFs are amongst the most exciting developments in optical fibre technology of recent years. These fibres have a complex structure composed of arrays of expanded air holes in a silica glass matrix and exploit photonic bandgap or anti-resonant effects in order to achieve light confinement and guidance in a low refractive index, air core as opposed to a raised index glass core, as in conventional optical fibres.
This research project addresses the development of atomic micro-clocks based on thermal Caesium atoms confined within microstructured hollow core fibre.The micro-clock, based on the Cs ground state hyperfine microwave clock transition at 9.2 GHz, will exploit a coherent population trapping (CPT) technique whereby a superposition “dark” state is created by probing the Cs atoms with low power laser light modulated with a microwave frequency signal tuned to be in resonance with the transition.
The ORC is one of the world leaders in the development and fabrication of MOFs and has existing research programmes developing this technology for applications in telecommunications, laser power delivery, and sensing. NPL is a global leader in atomic clocks and metrology applications more generally.
The PhD project will focus primarily on the development of the new fibre based low pressure vapour cell technology however the student will also get involved in every aspect of the project from fibre development through to the design and realisation of the clocks. The project will involve working alongside well established teams at both the ORC and NPL and offers a unique opportunity to perform cutting edge research in a highly stimulating environment.
The studentship is available to EU/UK applicants only.
Applicants should contact Prof David Richardson (email@example.com) or Dr Marco Petrovich (firstname.lastname@example.org), at the Optoelectronics Research Centre, University of Southampton by August 8th, 2014 in addition to submitting an online application. Information on the ORC’s postgraduate programme and on how to apply can be found at: http://www.orc.soton.ac.uk/phdprogram.html.
Apply online at www.soton.ac.uk/postgraduate/pgstudy/howdoiapplypg.html selecting “MPhil/PhD ORC” as degree and “optoelectronics” as field of study.